Your Nutritional Needs Are as Unique as You Are

There is mounting evidence that small amounts of essential nutrients like choline and folate have a big impact on human health. However, nutritional studies that attempt to quantify the effects of essential nutrients often produce unclear or contradictory results.
There are several reasons for this, but chief among them is the assumption that all of us process food exactly the same way. This is simply not the case. No one is metabolically identical or even similar to anyone else – not even identical twins. We all require different amounts of specific nutrients and vitamins. Scientists at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute believe this common misconception is responsible for so many contradictory study results. Continue reading.


Vitamins and Healthy Diet: A Balancing Act

A Vitamin is an organic compound that cannot be made by the human body, but is a required nutrient vital for its various functions. Vitamins are needed in only limited amounts and thus are traditionally derived from our diet. And, yet, nearly half of the U.S. population takes multivitamin supplements – even in times of financial downturn. In 2010 the U.S. supplements industry reached $28 billion in annual sales.
And, although no clear scientific need has been defined for vitamin supplementation, the most common reason for taking vitamins is a desire to “improve” or “maintain” overall health, according to a poll conducted by the National Institutes of Health in 2013.
Are vitamin supplements really beneficial? Continue reading.

Take a Tour with Us

Find out where scientific discovery takes place during this summer’s special tours of the UNC NRI at 500 Laureate Way, Kannapolis, NC 28081.
Tours feature the Human Research Core, and a state-of-the-art laboratory of one of our world-class scientists. Summertime tours are offered two Tuesdays a month, once at 1:00 in the afternoon and once at 7:00 in the evening. Tours are limited to 16 people. Registration required.


Meet Manya Warrier, Ph.D.

Dr. Warrier joins the NRI this month as our newest faculty member. Her research focus is the “browning” of fat and its effects on metabolism and obesity. Brown fat is plentiful in infants and has been recently identified in adults. Brown fat burns energy, whereas the more predominant white fat in adults conserves energy. Activation of brown fat is a promising therapy to treat obesity and metabolic disorders such as diabetes.
Warrier received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Toledo in 2008, and has completed two postdoctoral appointments: first at Sanford Turnham Diabetes and Obesity Research Center in Orlando, Fl and later at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation located in Cleveland, OH.
We’re eager to learn about the intersections of energy expenditure, metabolism and obesity from Dr. Warrier’s research at the NRI.